A short agenda filled with financial and budgetary implications was dealt with quickly by Wolf Creek Public Schools trustees on Thursday, Feb. 4 with much of their meeting moving ahead on recommendations from the trustees’ salary and wage committee, and majority of those recommendations being passed as motions during the meeting.
However, a number of those motions that have monetary requests attached were referred to the board’s 2016-17 budget discussions to be held later this spring.
In fact, one motion specifically stated that any request that will cost the board more than $10,000 will be looked at during those budget talks regardless of its nature – considering trustees were informed in December that WCPS is facing a deficit of more than $2.26 million.
Other motions that were approved to be discussed at budget time included priority consideration for an additional wage step to the grid for cleaning personnel, an instruction to administration to explore possible enhancement of current professional development levels for educational assistants and again for administration to reclassify the salary grid for educational assistants at Wolf Creek Academy to levels equivalent to educational rehabilitation therapists’ hourly grid.
The board did pass a few other motions that won’t be affected by the budget discussions and will take affect this September. Those include a $200 allowance every three years for transportation and facilities staff to buy safety work boots, amended vacation time for all division office support staff, granting one personal leave day for all support staff at no additional cost to the division, increase the health spending accounts for the board’s senior administration staff to $1,000 per year and have administration look in to how division librarians’ time is used and investigate how important their duties are in order to research how to develop potential partnerships with local libraries.
Administration has also been directed by trustees to compare school secretary wages using the same comparisons as will be used for support staff. The data for those comparisons will be derived from a survey to be done of Alberta school divisions – Chinook’s Edge, Black Gold, Red Deer Public, Red Deer Catholic, Foothills, Battle River and Wild Rose.
WCPS secretary-treasurer Joe Henderson brought to the table a number of assumptions that administration use to assist them in developing the school division’s annual budget and requested trustees take a look at them in order to come back with any potential suggestions of what they believe could be built into these assumptions prior to discussions beginning on the 2016-17 school year budget.
While Henderson explained the majority of the priority assumptions are based on salaries – with most of the basic and generic assumptions the division can do nothing about – trustees do need to be aware of what they are and how they work.
It’s anticipated trustees will bring back any suggestions or ideas to the next board meeting on Thursday, Feb. 18.